PNP saddened by passing of American civil rights, reparation activist Randall Robinson

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The People’s National Party (PNP) says it is saddened by the passing of US civil rights icon and fierce anti-apartheid and black reparations campaigner Randall Robinson.

Robinson passed away last Friday in his adopted home, St Kitts, where he had lived for two decades, at the age of 81, of pneumonia.

A statement from the PNP on Wednesday said the former Penn State Law Professor and founder of the TransAfrica Forum was a dear friend of Jamaica who, through his organisation, promoted diversity and equity in foreign policy as well as justice for the African world.

“It was this work to analyse and criticise US policy as it affected Africa and the African Diaspora, including the West Indies, as victims of the Transatlantic slave trade, which endeared him to Jamaicans and Caribbean people,” the statement read.

The PNP recalled his advocacy for reparations and social justice, which he advanced from a principled position of racial equality and against all forms of racial injustices. Using his TransAfrica Forum, which he founded in 1977.

To dramatise his positions, he staged a sit-in at the South African Embassy in Washington to protest against apartheid and went on a hunger strike to pressure the US government to reinstate Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The Party said Mr Robinson’s contribution to advancing the cause of black people everywhere was tremendous, and his work immense, courageous and distinguished. He visited Jamaica on several occasions as a guest of the PNP and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust to deliver the bi-centennial lecture in October 2007.

“Robinson's life represented the finest traditions of black international activism. The PNP records its deepest respect for this icon in the struggle for justice and extends its deepest sympathy to his wife, Hazel Ross-Robinson and his children,” the Opposition party said.

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